Good accounting systems keep the crims out

If clubs had half decent accounting systems in place I would not be so busy as a forensic auditor, and the insurance companies would not be forever processing claims!

Unfortunately most of the accountants clubs engage are not specialists in club accounting; they don’t know what systems to be put in place to close the door on the crooks waiting for an opportunity to help themselves.

We can’t get away from technology, and there are now some great programs that make club accounting easier and more secure. The downside is your staff need to know how to use them! In many cases they don’t, and the result is a birds nest that may be virtually impossible to untangle and thieves love accounting muddles. The most common problems are:

– Staff inadequately trained, not knowing how to code transactions correctly or do journals.
– Using an accountant that does not know how thieves manipulate the accounting system.
– Coding heaps of transactions to a suspense account and not resolving those queries before the management reports are printed.

Life would be much easier if clubs got their accounting systems right and became more professional about the way they handle money, before a thief forces them to! There are no short-cuts in this area. Employ an accountant that specialises in club work – employ Smart Business Centre Accountants! Don’t employ your regular run-of-the-mill accountant because they happen to be mates with someone in the club, or they happen to be located just around the corner. You are not buying a litre of milk at the dairy – you are dealing with club property – you need to be professional about who you appoint as your club accountant.

When we put accounting systems in place we do so with three things in mind.

1. Providing the information you need, when you need it (not 12 months later when you don’t need it, or once the missing funds and the person who did it are long gone!).
2. Putting systems and disciplines in place that make it hard for thieves to pinch club money and property, and easy to detect if they do. This is absolutely critical.
3. Making sure all of the requirements of the Incorporated Societies Act are complied with.

Of these I believe most accountants are only doing the last (and the least important) adequately.

Joanne Newman is New Zealand’s leading authority on club accounting and forensic auditing. She is the managing director of Club Accounting & Investigations Ltd and Smart Business Centre (Tauranga) Ltd.

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